‘I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say “I can’t do it”. I’m never gonna say “maybe”. I’m never gonna say “I don’t think I can”. I can and I will.’ Nadiya Hussein’s rousing response to winning the 2015 Great British Bake Off
Over 12 million people tuned in to see Nadiya storm the GBBO final in her usual soft yet steely fashion. But the creme de la creme (or the “creme pat”, if you will) was her astonishing response. Astonishing in a good way. It was the best acceptance speech I’ve ever heard (take note Hollywood: the city, not the grumpy, silver-fox GBBO judge).
The amateur baker who almost went home in the first episode – coming last in the technical challenge – increased in confidence week by week, accompanied by her now trademark range of facial expressions and quotable quotes. Sample 1: ” That was stressful, oh my god. I’d sooner have another baby, I really would.” – on delivering a rather wonky soufflé. Sample 2, discussing practising for the tricky Religieuse (nun’s passion): “This is my eighth nun. I’ve had some nun disasters, some nun landslides, some nun explosions.”
Twitter was practically on fire with love for the diminutive stay-at-home mum of three from Leeds (can I get a job at the Daily Mail, lol). There was also a lot of admiration for the other two, deserving, finalists Tamal (Dr Gorgeous) Ray and Ian Cumming.
The whole show is a joy: the editing is on point; the judges and presenters perfectly judged themselves; even the vagaries of the British summer weather outside the garden marquee make this a very enjoyable British family show. Er, an exception to the family tag has to be made for that squirrel from series 2 (I am not linking to it!). Other countries now have their own tweaks and versions, but this is one recipe I hope never changes.
Aside from Nadiya’s barnstormer of a speech – that will hopefully sink in and inspire under-confident people everywhere – the quote of the series has to go to Tamal:
“I feel like we’re a herd of gazelles that’s being picked off one by one by lions. Mary and Paul are the lions and they’re hungry for bakers.”
Lions with good taste and good heart, I’d say.
Enough already with the unaccustomed sentiment (it is so not me!) I hear you say. Inspired by the efforts of these amateur bakers I want to share one my easiest bakes of late. The beauty of this, a galette, is that it shouldn’t look perfect. Everyone can be “star baker” with this simple but pretty bake.
Did you watch the GBBO final? Did you cry? (we did) What did you eat while viewing? (rhubarb pie)
Mini Blueberry, White Peach and Goat's Cheese Galettes
Tender spelt crust encasing juicy colourful fruit, a few dots of cheese, and not much else. Galettes in miniature, for those who hate to share. Makes four or six depending on need/greed.
Change out the fruit if you like, but this is a great, balanced combination of flavours. Enjoy xx
This recipe is based on one I go back to again and again, my Cardamom-Spiced Fig and Plum Galette, from 2013.
100g stoneground spelt flour OR wholemeal flour*
100g unbleached flour OR plain white flour*, plus extra for rolling
¼ tsp fine salt
100g (1 stick, minus 1 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter OR vegan margarine OR coconut oil (the latter frozen briefly and chopped)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or a fruit vinegar (I sometimes use my raspberry vinegar)
1 tbsp raw sugar OR 2 drops of organic liquid stevia (or to taste)
4 tbsp iced cold water
Seeds from one vanilla pod OR 1 tsp best vanilla extract
4 tbsp ground almonds – optional (it helps absorb some of the liquid from the fruit; sometimes I do this and sometimes I don’t)
200g (2 cups) blueberries
1 ripe white or yellow peach OR nectarine
2 tbsp raw sugar or demerara sugar, divided use
100g goat’s cheese, crumbled – optional
1 tbsp lemon thyme leaves – optional
1 egg yolk, whisked OR 2 tbsp vegan cream or mylk
1 tbsp blueberry or other dark berry jam – optional
Equipment needed: food processor (optional), two baking trays, and baking parchment
*please do buy organic flour if at all possible to avoid some very nasty chemicals used on non-organic wheat.
Note: I do my dough in my KitchenAid food processor but you can do it by hand
1. Add the flour, cold fat of choice, vinegar, sugar or stevia and vanilla to the bowl of your food processor and pulse or blend briefly. Gradually add the iced water through the feed chute and process just until the dough starts to form a ball.
2. Decant the dough onto a floured surface, divide into four (0r 6) equal pieces and pat into discs. Wrap each in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for half an hour. This little “rest” does help the final texture of the baked pastry.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F. Slice the peach or nectarine into twelve slices and set aside. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
5. Dust each with ground almonds, if using. Divide the berries and peach slices between the discs, dot with crumbles of goat’s cheese and thyme leaves, if using. Try and leave a good margin so that you can pull the edges of the dough up over to form a crumpled frame.
6. Pull up the edges of the dough to leave most of the fruit on show, with just an inch and a half or so undercover; gently pleat. Unlike in the Great British Bake Off, this kind of bake is not aiming for a uniformly perfect look. Rustic and homemade looking is good! And, those golden folds are the best bits.
7. Brush the egg or milk on the exposed dough and sprinkle sugar on the dough and on the fruit. Pop the trays in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Cover loosely with foil and bake for a further five minutes.
8. While the galette is baking heat the jam, if using. Brush the warm jam on the baked fruit as the galettes are removed from the oven. Cool slightly, then greedily devour with cream, ice cream or crème fraiche (we like the latter).